End Child Sex Abuse Day – Focus on child participation in INHOPE hotlines

The internet and new technologies have brought a new dimension to the sexual exploitation of children. To mark the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse – also known as End Child Sex Abuse Day – on Monday, 18 November 2019, we take a closer look at the work of INHOPE hotlines to put an end to the (re-)circulation of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online.

In 2007, the Council of Europe's (CoE) Committee of Ministers adopted the Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as the Lanzarote Convention, a legally-binding document requiring criminalisation of all kinds of sexual abuse of children.

In 2015, this treaty was complemented with the instauration of End Child Sex Abuse Day, to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and exploitation among the general public. In the same logic, the CoE also launched the ONE in FIVE campaign, named after available data suggesting that about 1 in 5 children in Europe are victims of some form of sexual violence. This campaign pursues a threefold objective:

  • Raising awareness of children's sexual exploitation and abuse, and the need to prevent such acts;
  • Fostering open discussions on how to protect the children victim of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and how to eliminate their stigmatisation;
  • Pushing for further ratification and implementation of the Lanzarote Convention.

The 2019 edition of End Child Sex Abuse Day will focus on Empowering children to stop sexual violence, aiming to give children "the means, space, opportunity and support to participate in the design and implementation of measures, policies, programmes or other initiatives aiming at preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse".

As such, the CoE encourages all initiatives giving centre stage to children. To facilitate this, it has produced a facilitator's toolkit to implement child participation on this occasion, and a child-friendly explanation of End Child Sex Abuse Day.

The INHOPE hotlines are at the frontlines of the fight against the propagation of child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation material on the internet. To do so, hotlines offer the general public an anonymous reporting mechanism, and work with law enforcement agencies to ensure reported matters are investigated and to provide actionable intelligence.

They also conduct awareness activities, sometimes involving children themselves as active participants to the process. As an example, APLE Cambodia conducted a training on online child sexual exploitation for young people, and the results proved successful, since one 15-year-old participant then went on to share the knowledge with her peers through dedicated awareness sessions.

To learn more about hotlines, visit the INHOPE website. For more information about End Child Sex Abuse Day, visit the website of the Council of Europe and follow the events of the day on social media using #EndChildSexAbuseDay.


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